Yadier Molina

Craig Calcaterra

The Cardinals Rally Kitten is Missing

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On Wednesday night the St. Louis Cardinals were propelled to victory via the magic of the Rally Kitten. Well, Yadier Molina‘s grand slam was the real reason they won, but the kitty which ran around the field beforehand certainly used its magical powers to will Molina’s heroics into existence. That’s just science.

Usually in these situations the animal/weird person/odd scoreboard graphic/whatever inspires a rally becomes an unofficial mascot for a team. Think the Rally Monkey or that dog the Brewers found at their spring training facility. If it’s an animal, it either gets adopted or gets featured on a baseball card or something. This will not be the case for the cat which graced Busch Stadium with its presence on Wednesday, however, because . . . the Rally Kitten has gone missing!

It seems that Lucas Hackmann, the grounds crew member who was tasked with removing the cat from the field, got scratched and bit and, eventually, just let the cat go outside the stadium. Here’s his account from yesterday’s column by Ben Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“I finally get outside – and I wanted nothing to do with this cat at this point. My hand is just covered with blood. It looked pretty rough. So I got out to the Stan Musial statue, and I just set it down right there. I started to walk back in, and the cat was trying to get back in! Me and the ushers were blocking it – at this point, we didn’t think that anyone was going to want the cat. And then some ushers said, ‘Hey, you need to go to First Aid right now . . . I’ve got First Aid people dealing with me, telling me I need to go to the hospital. And I’ve got my boss calling me – ‘What did you do with the cat? Matheny wants it!’ And I said, ‘Oh that’s not good – I set it outside!’

Not gonna judge, friend — cats aren’t always user-friendly — but as a relative expert in cat matters, allow me to suggest that, next time, you grab it by the scruff of the neck and support its weight with your other hand or arm.

But wait, there’s more! The Cardinals issued this statement about the fate of the cat. It picks up here after Hackmann puts the cat down by the statue:

At that point, as our ushers tried to contain the cat, a fan grabbed it and claimed it was hers. As she left the ballpark, our security team caught up with her and asked her some questions. She then abruptly left with the cat. We understand from media accounts that the woman intended to take it home and care for it, but lost track of it in City Gardens.

The Cardinals say they’re working on a new protocol for their grounds crew the next time an animal gets on the field. I humbly volunteer my services if the animal is a cat.

UPDATE: The Rally Kitten may have been found!

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 10, Pirates 0: Are the Astros and Tigers still talking about Justin Verlander? Is he showing off to encourage a trade to Houston? I dunno, but he was fantastic here, allowing only one hit in eight innings of work. He was dealing with a small lead for most of that time, as the Tigers scored seven of their ten runs from the seventh inning on. Nick Castellanos and Ian Kinsler did most of the damage, driving in five and four, respectively.

Nationals 10, Marlins 1: Gio Gonzalez allowed one run over seven while Ryan Zimmerman did heavy damage with two homers on his 4-for-4, two-homer, four-run, five-RBI night. Zimmerman passed Tim Wallach as the all-time RBI leader for the Expos-Nationals franchise, which I realize makes many Nats fans grumpy because they like to pretend the franchise just sprung into existence out of the head of Zeus in 2005 or whatever.

Rockies 3, Indians 2: Jonathan Lucroy doubled in Carlos Gonzalez to tie things up in the ninth and Charlie Blackmon hit a homer in the top of the 12th to give Colorado the win. Blackmon is on pace for 38 homers and 105 runs and has a 1.004 OPS. He’s the leadoff hitter.

Rangers 5, Mets 1: Martin Perez allowed one run on three hits over eight innings and Joey Gallo homered again, a two-run shot. The Rangers’ other three runs scored on a balk, a fielder’s choice and a bases-loaded walk. The Mets are playing inspiring baseball.

Mariners 6, Athletics 3: Kyle Seager hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Nelson Cruz homered twice. Seattle has won four of five and is tied for the second Wild Card.

Angels 5, Orioles 1: Ten-year minor league veteran Cesar Puello got called up to make his debut and, with his first big league hit, singled in the go-ahead run in the fourth inning. Don’t stop doing what you want to do until you’re really, really sure it’s something you don’t want to do anymore.

Giants 3, Cubs 1: Madison Bumgarner allowed one run and struck out seven, scattering five hits over seven innings, Hunter Pence homered and the Giants won. It’s like 2014 or something.

Red Sox 8, Rays 2: Eight wins in a row for Boston. This one broke open when Eduardo Nunez hit a ball that slammed into Rays starter Jake Odorizzi‘s foot, knocking him out of the game and allowing the Sox to feast for five runs off of the Tampa Bay bullpen. Odorizzi’s X-Rays came back negative, which is a positive. Porcello allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. At one point he threw 19 consecutive strikes. Despite nine pitchers being used, the game lasted just less than three hours. That bit about working fast and throwing strikes is still the best pitching advice there is.

 

Reds 8, Padres 3: Joey Votto had a double and a single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games and Stuart Turner homered as the Reds won easily. Asher Wojciechowski got the win for the Reds. He also got his first big league hit. It was a single to right field, but he’s not fast and Padres right fielder Hunter Renfroe almost threw him out at first base. I love that play when the outfielder gets the putout. It has to be the most embarrassing thing for a base runner. Or base jogger, I guess.

Yankees 11, Blue Jays 5: Todd Frazier homered and doubled in a couple more runs for his best game as a Yankee.  Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius homered as well and Garrett Cooper had four hits. They needed all of that offense as Masahiro Tanaka issued five walks and three runs in four innings of work. Five Yankees relievers combined to allow two runs over the final five frames.

Phillies 3, Braves 2Odubel Herrera maintained his hot hitting of late, tripling in a run with another run scoring on the same play due to a Braves error. He’d hit another triple as well. Freddy Galvis singled in the Phillies other run while Jerad Eickhoff pitched into the seventh. The Phillies are 11-2 against Atlanta this year.

White Sox 7, Astros 1: Miguel Gonzalez flummoxed the Astros, allowing one run over eight innings and the Sox beat up on Collin McHugh for seven runs in less than six innings of work. Tim Anderson homered and drove in three and Leury Garcia and Yolmer Sanchez each had two-run singles. Houston has now dropped eight of 11 and are ensured a series loss against one of the worst teams in baseball this year.

Twins 4, Brewers 0: Bartolo Colon looked finished not too long ago, but now he’s won two straight, the last a complete game, and this one consisting of seven shutout innings. A couple more of these and someone may give the dude a major league contract next spring. Brian Dozier homered, doubled and singled.

Cardinals 8, Royals 5: The Royals had a 5-4 lead in the sixth inning when Yadier Molina came up with the bases loaded and deposited one in the left field seats for a grand slam. But don’t thank Yadi: thank the Rally Cat.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 2: Joc Pederson doubled in the tying run off of Zack Greinke in the seventh and Yasiel Puig singled in Pederson for the go-ahead run two pitches later to give the Dodgers a comeback win. It was their 80th win of the year. If they go 1-48 in their final 49 games, they’re a .500 team.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 4, Rockies 1: Nolan Arenado made a clever play but Yan Gomes won the game with a walkoff three-run homer. This is the baseball equivalent of some smarty pants dropping a droll bon mot over a classmate’s mispronunciation of a word only to walk out of the building at three o’clock and get decked in front of the whole school. Corey Kluber, meanwhile, tossed a complete game, allowing only one run on three hits and striking out 11. Ace stuff, right there.

Red Sox 2, Rays 0: Chris Sale tossed eight shutout innings allowing only two hits and striking out 13. In the American League it’s him and Kluber, then there’s 50 feet of crap, then there’s the rest of the pitchers. OK, there’s, like, Luis Severino and some other dudes too, but I wanted to use that Brad Pitt quote from “Moneyball” for a while and I haven’t had any good chances. Either way: if there’s any justice in the world (spoiler alert: there isn’t, but go with me here) Sale and Kluber will face off in a deciding game in the playoffs this year. It will go eight and two-thirds innings, tied at zero, and then the home team will win on a walkoff inside-the-park homer. Everyone would love that except guys who write gamers on deadlines and their problems aren’t our problems.

Marlins 7, Nationals 3: Giancarlo Stanton hit a three-run shot to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth. It was his 38th bomb of the year, setting a personal record and extending his league lead in dingers. Derek Dietrich also homered and drove in three. The Marlins scored seven runs on only six hits. Earl Weaver was right about three-run homers being awesome. He was also right about Alice Sweet’s tomato plants, but I suppose that’s best left for another time.

Pirates 6, Tigers 3: Chad Kuhl took a shutout into the sixth striking out six and walking one. He also (all together now) helped his own cause with a two-run single in the fourth to give the Pirates a 4-0 lead which they would not relinquish. Andrew McCutchen hit his 23rd homer of the year. The Tigers have lost four in a row.

Blue Jays 4, Yankees 2: Josh Donaldson homered twice, each of which were two-run shots. Garrett Cooper hit a sac fly and an RBI single, each of which were good for one run. 2 x 2 > 1 x 2, ergo the Blue Jays won. That’s just math. CC Sabathia left the game after three innings due to a recurrence of his old knee problems. That’s just age.

Padres 7, Reds 3Jose Pirela had four hits and scored three times and Yangervis Solarte had three hits including a homer, driving in three. Luis Perdomo pitched in and out of trouble into the seventh, inducing three double plays. The Padres got a fourth double play on a strike-em-out, throw-em-out with the throw-em-out nabbing Billy Hamilton. That doesn’t happen very often.

Mets 5, Rangers 4: The Mets snap their four-game losing streak. Chris Flexen allowed three runs over five and two-thirds for his first big league win. He was backed by homers from Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes and Travis d'Arnaud which staked him to a 4-0 lead after two innings, so that helps.

Phillies 5, Braves 2: Zach Eflin — one of the increasingly hard to find Zachs in baseball who spell it with an “h” — allowed two runs on seven hits over seven and (all together now) helped his own cause by singling in the go-ahead run in the fourth. Odubel Herrera hit a two-run shot on a 3-for-4 night.

White Sox 8, Astros 5: Kevan Smith hit a two-run homer and a two-run double as the White Sox hand the Astros their fifth loss in seven games. Question: when the White Sox and Astros face off do they do any “remember the 2005 World Series” bits on the local broadcasts, or do we all pretend that never happened now that Houston is in the AL?

Twins 11, Brewers 4: Brian Dozier hit a grand slam and Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario each homered twice. The three of them went a combined 9-for-13, with seven runs and 10 RBI. According to the AP, the last time the Twins had multiple players hit multiple homers in one game was Aug. 3, 2011, when Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer each went deep twice. Blast from the past. Note: the last time Delmon Young was mentioned on this blog, apart from us talking about him either being released or arrested, was when we posted this:

Cardinals 10, Royals 3Yadier MolinaJedd Gyorko and Randal Grichuk each went deep in the service of the Cardinals’ 14-hit attack. Jason Vargas was beat up for six runs in four and two-thirds for the Royals. In the first half he was Cy Young material. In the second half Vargas is 1-3 with a 6.94 ERA and has allowed 31 hits, has walked 12 dudes and has surrendered six homers in 23.1 innings across five starts. You can’t run away and hide from a 162-game season. It will come and find you eventually and reveal you for who you truly are.

Diamondbacks 6, Dodgers 3: The Dodgers had a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh. Such things have been pretty safe for them in this charmed season, but Jake Lamb‘s grand slam off of Tony Watson flipped the usual script. In Watson’s defense, he’s only been with the team for a little over a week so maybe no one told him how things are supposed to work yet. Hard to fault the matchup of a lefty specialist and a guy in Lamb who struggles against lefties. Stuff just happens sometimes.

Mariners 7, Athletics 6:  The A’s took a 6-2 lead into the sixth inning but the M’s rallied to tie it and Leonys Martin hit a solo shot in the top of the 10th to give Seattle the win. Khris Davis was 2-for-4 with a home run, a triple and four RBI in the losing cause. The M’s comeback was aided by some bad Oakland defense. The A’s lead the majors with 95 errors and 70 unearned runs allowed so, yeah.

Angels 3, Orioles 2: Every time I say “Angels and Orioles” to myself I think it sounds like the title of a 1990s art house movie. This should play before the game starts:

After that — and some pretentious, pre-credits sequence in which, I dunno, some British kids in the 1960s lose something in some tall grass — former Oriole Parker Bridwell threw seven innings of one-run ball, outdueling Jeremy Hellickson. C.J. Cron singled in the Halos’ first run and singled in their last run. Then the game ended on a dissonant note with, like, Juliette Binoche looking longingly at something, I know not what.

Giants 6, Cubs 3: Buster Posey hit a three-run homer in the first inning. He’s hitting .322/.411/.485 on the year. He’s one of the few good things going for the Giants in 2017. Ty Blach allowed two runs on seven hits over seven innings and (all together now) helped his own cause with an RBI single.